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The Worst Word of Malfunctioning Microsoft

I have used Word for years and years, through many version. Before that I had Word Perfect and WordStar, so I know my word processing. I’m fairly advance with word. I’ve used it for editing as well as writing. I can put in borders, graphics, tables (and create them), tables of contents, and do labels and envelopes. I can do a lot and figure out the bits I can’t do.

I tend to use shortcuts. Ctrl C for copying and Ctrl P for printing. I can go to a dropdown menu and I know what is in each section. Some has been annoying, such as when Microsoft decided to change the “Track Changes” feature, something that editors use a lot. Instead of just inserting text into the document and when you ran your cursor over it, it gave you the deleted text in a box, they changed it to balloons off to the side. Once you get too many of these on a page it pops open a window at the bottom of your screen. And if you’re editing a multi page document like a novel, it starts to slow down and then won’t always show the changes. It takes opening and closing the document or changing the view options from Final to Final With Changes and back and forth in hopes to see the changes. Add comments on top of this and it’s a hopeless mire.

That change was highly annoying and a function I used a lot. So then Microsoft’s brain children decided they needed to figure out ways to keep themselves employed longer. Let’s redesign Word and make it bigger, better, bolder, brighter. Oh and all those three letter extensions like .doc, .rtf, .xls, why don’t we make them better and add a letter so people will have .docx and .xlsx, because then they can’t open files unless they have the new software and we can all get raises. And they’ll need more memory to run a program with extra graphics. Yay, more jobs.

Yes, Word 2007 and up has this hyper aggravating extension, which means asking people to save their files into a .doc file if you have an earlier version. A great way to perpetuate continual sales and irritation. So at work and at home I updated in the attempt to be able to open all files. Word 2007. To name this the scourge of civilization would not be an exaggeration. To call it a bloated behemoth would be absolutely accurate.

I’ve been trying it for a month now and I’m ready to kill. Microsoft Outlook has several exasperating features and one disastrous one. Now if you want to attach a file to your email, you click on the paperclip as before, but oh no, it doesn’t go to your files right away. Instead you get to click a second time for the most popular option of attach a file. “Attach an item” is there as it always was but not common and just an extra step to go through now. Should you want to adjust your distribution lists, be very careful. There is a button that says delete item. If you highlight one name in your list and click delete item, it deletes your entire distribution list. I’ve done this twice now. Thanks, Microsoft.

But that’s all minor to the catastrophe that is Word 2007. This program is so bloated that we had to add more memory to my computer at work because it was taking forever to do anything. But Word is now a new, modified version of all the Words before. One menu bar at the top was not enough so there are two. screen

Notice the double menu, where the top menu is not quite the same as the second menu but there are some tabs like Insert and View which are but in different spots.You just get to decide which Insert menu you need and if you’re used to knowing where everything was, well you won’t anymore. It’s less intuitive. And then there is the Table Tools menu, which shows up if you press buttons in the right order. It seems that it is most likely activated in Excel or with any tables but don’t count on it. And if you go to Microsoft Help it will be less useful than usual, where it just tells you to go to the Table Tools menu but doesn’t tell you how to get there.

Fun? You betcha, if you want to waste hours of time looking for what you used to find in seconds. There are some cool features such as if you highlight text and then scroll through fonts or styles it will show you what they look like, but that coolness does not outweigh the aggravation. And instead of a dropdown menu where you can choose, now if you click on something as simple as the new document button, it opens up to a host of options. Of course most of the time all you want is another blank Word document, but instead you get a variety of options every time. More ways to waste your day.

The final straw for me has been trying to print landscape, four pages to a sheet. No matter how many settings I change or if I tried it as labels (index card size) or as separate pages, there is no way it will print landscape on the paper. I’m sure I could go on with the lumbering zombie that is Word 2007 but I don’t see why. I’ve gone through the usual learning curve period (a week or less) and I’m still getting pissed off so it’s being booted back to the primordial code it once was. Microsoft might do better to leave some things well enough alone and not create increasingly ungainly leviathans that use more memory and take longer to get to the same place. If I had to rate this out of ten I’d give it a three.

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A Caveat (or 2) About the Technocopia Articles

For clarification, from time to time I will be posting some articles here that I originally wrote for Technocopia.com (now defunct). This web magazine was owned by Hillary Rettig http://lifelongactivist.com/ and covered new technologies of many sorts and how they affected us in day to day life. A what-if of possibilities. Hillary has given me permission to print these here.

The articles were written in 1999-2000 and Hillary held them to rigorous standards. They went through many drafts before being published. It was fun and I learned a lot. I haven’t bothered to update these to 2008 information. I thought it would be interesting to show what was happening in 2000 and how some things have changed or progressed. Consider them historical articles.

It’s up to the reader to do further research. Should I do more research I’ll probably write up articles and sell them as opposed to posting them here for free. However, most of what I write here are opinion pieces…mine. The Technocopia articles are articles. They were researched at the time and written with what we knew and what the experts knew. I’m not an expert in any of the fields I wrote about, so if anyone else wishes to get all grumpy pants and feel superior, and post insulting comments, go for it. Maybe these will inform. Maybe they’ll be entertaining. Maybe they’ll make you think.

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